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Laughs, first-ever trade make for exciting All-Star draft

by Corey Masisak

COLUMBUS -- NHL All-Star Weekend is a celebration of hockey and it is supposed to be fun.

The rosters for Team Foligno and Team Toews were selected Friday night during the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, but the jokes and the entertainment stole the show.

Laughs were the soundtrack as Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews selected teams for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It was really fun. I was nervous going into it, but I had a great time with it," Foligno said. "The guys made it really easy. The personalities really came out. It was a lot of fun."

Foligno chose forward Ryan Johansen of the hometown Blue Jackets with the first pick of the draft. Johansen has 17 goals and 43 points in 45 games this season, but once Foligno won the puck flip to secure the No. 1 pick, he quickly made the decision to go with his Columbus teammate.

It was an early theme for Team Foligno. Alternate captains Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings selected teammates with the second and third picks of the draft. Kane announced defenseman Duncan Keith as a second-round pick, and Doughty nabbed center Anze Kopitar.

"It was actually a lot more of fun than I expected," Doughty said. "We had a lot of fun with the guys that I was drafting and the guys on the other team. I enjoyed it."

There was plenty of verbal jousting between the two leadership groups. At one point, Getzlaf chirped Team Foligno about only taking teammates, to which Doughty replied, "We shut him down pretty good" in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toews also called Phil Kessel "one of the most coachable players in the League," a playful acknowledgement of some of the criticism the Toronto Maple Leafs forward has endured in recent weeks.

"It's nice that they have my back," Kessel said. "It's all in fun. I think everyone had a good time tonight."

Forwards Steven Stamkos and Tyler Seguin went back-to-back in rounds four and five to Team Foligno, and they were wearing the same dress shoes. While Kathryn Tappen was interviewing them about their shoes, Getzlaf yelled out, "Is this NHL Network of E!?"

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was interviewed at one point during the draft and held up a sheet of paper lobbying to be picked last because, "I want to be last. I need a car." He also held up the selection process at one point because he wanted a selfie with St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, a fellow Russian.

Ovechkin's desire to be the last pick was not fulfilled; Team Foligno grabbed him with the third-to-last pick.

In a surprise, forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers and Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators each was awarded a 2015 Honda Accord, instead of just the last player picked (Forsberg).

"We kind of had it planned out," Doughty said. "He was lobbying to go last in the draft to get the car. We had it planned that he was going third to last no matter what."

Goaltender Roberto Luongo lobbied to be picked by Team Toews because his kids liked the white jerseys better, and Toews obliged in the sixth round.

After being selected because he has "the most gel in his hair," Luongo said, "This is not gel. This is natural oil."

There was also a trade for the first time in the three years of the All-Star draft. After Foligno said, "I've always wanted to do this … we have a trade to announce," he traded Seguin to Team Toews for Kessel.

Kessel was traded by the Boston Bruins to the Maple Leafs in September 2009 for two first-round picks and a second-round pick. One of those picks ended up being the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, a kid from the Ontario Hockey League named Tyler Seguin.

Kessel has now made history twice in three tries in this format. He was the first player to be selected last at the original All-Star draft in 2011.

"I was heartbroken about that one," Toews said. "I didn't think it was going to come to that point and it happened so quick. Just kind of had to go with it. It's part of the business. Sometimes you've got to part ways with guys and players that you feel strongly about. That was the case there."

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